What is Children's Palliative Care?

Children’s palliative care is an active and total approach to care, from the point of diagnosis or recognition, throughout the child’s life, death and beyond.

It embraces physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements and focuses on the enhancement of quality of life for the child or young person and support for the family...

  • It seeks to provide a child with the best quality of life providing not just physical care such as pain relief and symptom management but also emotional, social and spiritual support. 
  • It also provides support for families who care for a child with palliative needs. This support can range from emotional support services to respite care services. 
  • It also encompasses coming to terms with bereavement and loss and adjusting to life after the death of a child. 
  • It is a philosophy of care that stretches across a broad range of services whose core goal is to make children's lives as comfortable as possible while they have a life limiting or life threatening condition. 

(Source: Together For Short Lives)

What kind of care is available?

There are estimated to be currently over 1300 children with life-limiting conditions living in Northern Ireland. Life-limiting conditions include conditions such as neurological and genetic disorders and life-threatening conditions such as cancer type diagnosis.

Children’s needs will change over time, often becoming increasing complex. Children’s Hospice provides a range of services which are flexible and responsive to these changing needs.

In essence, this means that how a family chooses to use children’s hospice services over time will change, for example the location of care may change or level of input may increase.

No matter how your child’s needs change, our commitment always remains the same; to ensure that at all times your child receives the highest quality care, provided by highly skilled staff, as close to how you would want to deliver that care yourself.

Does my child need to be referred by a Doctor or Consultant?

Most referrals are made by doctors or nurses, however parents, social workers or other professionals can also make a referral.

What will it cost?

Children’s Hospice care is completely free to all children and their families who meet the criteria to avail of our services. Each year it costs over £3 million to operate and run children’s hospice services. Only 20% of this is funded by Government and therefore we rely heavily upon donations from the public, business and trusts to enable us to continue to provide the service to families.